What do Buddhists believe about the world?

Buddhists believe that the world we experience with our every-day minds is really an illusion. After following the path or the Dharma, we can become enlightened, and understand the true nature of reality. That sort of understanding about the world is said to be a form of “waking up”.  When you wake up from sleep and remember a dream you were having, you realize that the mind that was dreaming was deluded about the true nature of reality: after all, in dreams we can fly and find that our hands have turned into claws or any other fantastic thing. “Waking up” into enlightenment will be like that. We’ll look back on what we experience now in every-day reality as a dream.


Buddhists also believe that all sentient beings have a Buddha Nature, and so are capable of awakening. All beings have an inherent compassion for all beings, and practicing the Dharma involves enabling ourselves to touch on that loving kindness all the time. Cultivating loving kindness and recognizing that the true source of suffering is attachment and aversion are the cornerstones to Buddhist practice.

What other practices or behaviors are expected of a Buddhist?

A cornerstone of the Buddhist understanding of the world is that enlightenment can not be attained unless one has complete, uncompromised compassion for all sentient beings. All the practices of Buddhism are performed with the aim of understanding the true nature of the universe and of cultivating compassion. No specific behavior is required of a Buddhist, but it is understood that being kind, showing compassion and helping others are skillful means toward cultivating loving kindness.